Hong Kong exile pro-democracy activist Nathan Law holds a rally in Berlin, Germany. File/Reuters
Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law said he has been granted political asylum in Britain, where he arrived last July after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on his home city that has been heavily criticised by the West.
The move is certain to ratchet up tensions between London and Beijing as Britain opens its doors to potentially more than five million residents of Hong Kong in the wake of the contentious security legislation.
“After several interviews in four months, the Home Office has informed me that my asylum application is approved,” Law said on Twitter late on Wednesday.
“The fact that I am wanted under the national security law shows that I am exposed to severe political persecution and am unlikely to return to Hong Kong without risk.”
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Ramping up sweeteners to lure Hong Kong residents, Britain on Thursday pledged 43 million pounds ($59 million) to help them find jobs, houses and schools under the initiative allowing millions to resettle.
Britain has accused China of multiple breaches of an agreement that saw the semi-autonomous city handed back to China in 1997. It says China’s security law and moves to disqualify pro-democracy legislators have undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.
Hong Kong and Beijing officials have said the law is vital to plug holes in national security defences exposed by months of often violent protests in 2019. China has repeatedly told Western powers to stop meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs.
Hong Kongers became the fifth-largest foreign investors in central London as of last August and have been driving up prices in some popular districts outside the British capital.
London estimates that over 300,000 Hong Kong residents could emigrate over the next five years, and Bank of America expects Hong Kong residents moving to Britain could trigger capital outflows of $36 billion in 2021.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has indicated that she had met with a group of young people about the pro-democracy protests gripping the city, and that’s indeed a positive development. Lam’s attempt to explain the government’s position at the Monday meeting, though it was closed-door and unannounced, sends a signal
The point of the narrative about Hong Kong and it’s healthcare is lost on me. Perhaps it is my warped perspective that doesn’t allow me to see the coherence of the flow of thought in the ensuing paragraphs (‘Hong Kong’s trauma – with pain and loss – is deep’, Aug. 19, Gulf Today). The author simultaneously says
Finally it dawned on the authorities and the government of Hong Kong that dialogue is a possibility towards amicable sorting out of issues. Strangely or dumbly this idea about having a dialogue didn’t take
The boycott follows a weekend marred by some of the worst violence since unrest escalated more than three months ago, with protesters burning barricades and throwing petrol bombs, and police retaliating with water cannon, tear gas and batons.
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